As I spend time with parents, one consistent theme comes up as they talk about the times they cherish most with their children – those unexpected, unhurried times when their children engage in conversation. Those moments when their children let down their walls for a few minutes, share their hearts, and take time to listen and talk are precious minutes that parents seems to desire more than most anything else. Those conversations do more than anything else to strengthen relationships. Our Heavenly Father is much the same. He cherishes the moments that we come to Him in conversation, those times when we are unhurried and lay our hearts, desires, and needs at His feet.
Often we know that a vibrant prayer life is important in our relationship with God, however it seems to be an intimidating and often neglected aspect of our faith journey. We don’t know how to pray or are intimidated to start. Or, we approach God in our prayers in the same way we approach Santa – with a list of requests and needs that feels one-sided, hurried, and dry. This Christmas, perhaps one of the best gifts you could give your family is a renewed excitement and commitment to conversations with God. How can we do that? Where do we start?
Perhaps you can use this simple model for prayer as a way to begin feeling comfortable with talking with your Heavenly Father. Use it as a way to model prayer for your family, or as a way to expand your prayers from a list of wants to a more engaging conversation with your Heavenly Father.
A – Adoration: Spend time praising God and acknowledging who He is. Recognize the attributes of God that you have noticed during the day or the week. This isn’t a time to thank God, but instead a time to come into the presence of God, understanding who it is that you are having a conversation with.
C – Confession: Recognize who you are and your need for God. Allow this to be a time of vulnerability and taking off the “mask”. Admit your sins, and your great need for a Savior. Spend some time in silence afterwards, letting God speak back to you whatever He desires to say.
T – Thanksgiving: Notice how God has been actively working in your life and thank Him for it. Acknowledge your blessings, and even thank God for your struggles. Use this as a time to recognize that all you have is a gift from God.
S – Supplication: At this point, begin to list your desires and needs before God. Pray for the needs of others, as well as your own needs. Submit yourself to God, trusting Him to provide for you in just the right way and time.
If you would like some creative ways to teach your child to pray using this model, please visit our website, www.livelifetogether.com, and click on the “children 4yrs-4th grade” page. There is a resource you can download on the left side of the page.
Imagine what could happen in our families this holiday season if we began to make conversations with our Heavenly Father a prominent place in our homes. There is no better gift you could give to your family than teaching them to spend time in conversation with their Maker and Savior.